Happy New Year, Everyone!
For me, January 1 always starts with OOH: Opportunity, Optimism and a Hangover – okay, not always a hangover. So, whether it’s an OO or an OOH, turning over into a new calendar year somehow re-ignites the metaphorical fire that with effort and attention will develop into a roaring success and yes, this will be “the year”!
What “the year” will deliver will, of course, means many things to many people. I hope 2013 will be “the year” of opportunity and change. For us Brits, 2012 was certainly a fantastic year, not least because of the amazing success of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These two events alone re-ignited a sense of national pride that a huge swathe of our population had never before experienced, nor expected to happen – and by golly, we liked it! As a proud Brit, I want 2013 to be “the year” that we build upon these core values of community spirit, pride in who we are and what we do, giving support to those in need and encouraging others to do the same.
As a businessman, I see 2013 as the right time for the indoor tanning community to really come and work together to start to shake off the burdens that have been dumped at our doorstep by the anti-tanning lobby. Luckily, we have a great trade association that I believe will lead the way for our indoor tanning community. So, I am pretty hopeful of success here. With the growing support of the salon owners, manufacturers and distributors, 2013 really will be the Year of the Snake for our industry, as we shed off the skin of the past; use scientific fact to constrict and crush the anti-tanning mantras and, where necessary, use our own venom as we bite those who mean us harm!
In my role as Chairman of the UK’s indoor tanning trade association, The Sunbed Association (TSA), I will be working with my colleagues to ensure that we step up our efforts to inform and educate about responsible tanning. We will enhance the provision of advice, information and tools to our members to help them to continue to run exceptional, professional salons. Ultimately, we will seek to re-position indoor tanning as a desirable leisure activity that can be undertaken with confidence in our members’ salons.
In any media “sting” – and by that, I mean situations when TV or print reporters send undercover customers to tanning salons with cameras to try and catch those who are acting illegally or irresponsibly – salon operators who are TSA members, pretty much without exception, pass with flying colours. Unfortunately, this fact is usually glossed over pretty rapidly and those salons that flout the law and don’t provide the proper guidance and advice are given centre stage as the “norm” for our industry.
All the while this scenario continues, our industry will be under constant scrutiny and attack. So it really is up to us to get more members on board with joined-up thinking on the huge business and moral benefits of running a professional salon.
It is my hope for 2013 that the ripple effect of what we do as the large core of our industry will bring us altogether to be bigger, better and stronger. If we succeed, that can only be good news for everyone involved … all the way from the tanning salon customer to the manufacturer, and beyond!
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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